I’m a Fashion Editor, and Here’s My Style Resolution For 2021

fashion editor style resolution

Forget about eating healthier or bumping up my fitness routine—my version of personal improvement revolves around dressing my absolute best. Yes, it’s true—I always set a New Year’s style resolution. In 2018 it was to wear less black. In 2019 it was to buy more investment pieces. Does that sound shallow? Ok, fine sue me. (I’ll see you in court wearing my hot pink tuxedo dress from Khaite!)

But all that was before 2020, a year that gave me plenty of time to reflect on the ways in which my shopping habits impact this planet. In addition to reading The Uninhabitable Earth, which offered an eye-opening look at global warming and what we can do to prevent major disasters, we all witnessed the heartbreaking wildfires in Australia and California and the record-breaking hurricane season. Not to mention, I finally started composting (after years of saying I'd do it) and stopped using plastic sandwich baggies (shout out to Stasher's reusable bags). And, as a result, I’ve picked an almost anti-fashion fashion resolution for our coming trip around the sun. I’ve resolved to only buy secondhand clothing, unless it’s absolutely icky to do so. (I’m absolutely not wearing anybody else’s underwear, people.)

It might sound extreme, especially for someone who works in fashion and has to get dressed for a living. But after educating myself on the environmentally unfriendly practices that often go into making clothes, I found myself feeling…guilty every time I went to get dressed. Between the too-cheap-to-be-true retailers who exploit their workers to the brands using never-break-down materials (like polyester and acrylic) during the manufacturing process, I couldn’t just sit back and continue mindless consuming. Plus, after years of ordering items online, I’m still shocked by the wasteful packaging that goes into shipping even the tiniest pair of socks. Finally, I think putting restrictions on myself might actually yield more creativity—something we all need heading into the new year. So, with that eye towards sustainability and innovation, it’s my mission to not unwrap anything new in the new year.

What does this no-new-clothes rule look like? Well, if the item I’m in search of can be bought secondhand, a vintage or second-hand store will be the first place I look for it. This is actually nothing new for me. I’ve been known to spend hours on The Real Real and Tradesy on the hunt for a Prada bag I spotted on the street. And I’ve recently upgraded my wallet with a stunning Louis Vuitton number from StockX. But for more everyday pieces (you know, those that don’t have designer price tags), I’ll be scouring the websites of my fave local vintage stores in Brooklyn, including The Break, Awoke Vintage and Mirth. I’ll also head to e-consignment shops from around the world, like Scout in LA, Feathers Vintage in Austin, TX and Singulier MTL in Montreal.

Those online destinations should be enough to cover me when I need a last-minute formal dress or those days when I’m just itching for a new pair of Levi’s. But what about the items I can’t—and, frankly, would rather not—buy pre-owned? For basics like underwear and T-shirts, I’ll be turning to brands that take their eco-friendly practices seriously. Think: For Days, a cool new brand that was built on closed-loop production practices. (They encourage shoppers to send back their cute cropped tees and WFH-friendly sweatshirts once they’re done with them, so the pieces can then be recycled and reused to create new garments.) Additionally: Knickey, an organic cotton underwear brand that doesn’t use any toxic chemicals during the production process and offers a similar recycling program for used unmentionables.

I’m also excited to better educate myself in terms of what a brand really means when they say they’re “eco-friendly.” Are they actually instituting low-impact practices, like the brands above, or is it just “greenwashing,” which is when corporations push environmentally-focused initiatives in an attempt to cover some of their other not-so-green behaviors? To avoid shopping from such places, I’ll have to start doing my research by reading the fine print on websites and cross-referencing with the Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index, which is now in its fifth annual edition and ranks 250 brands on “how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts.”

But how, you ask, will this resolution push me to get more creative with my own sartorial expression? For one thing, I absolutely will not be buying second-hand leggings or sweatpants. So, getting out of my current loungewear unform will be an immediate improvement. Not to mention, I’ve discovered some of the most amazing and unique pieces while thrifting—things I never would’ve considered at full-price but find to be a little less intimidating with a pre-used price tag. Silver leather pants? I’ll wear those with a cashmere sweater, in place of jeans. A gold turtleneck knit dress? Looks like my new average Tuesday look. A tan skirt suit? I may or may not invent a reason (or at-home event) to pop this baby on. See, already my 2021 wardrobe is looking fresh and bright.

Does all this seem daunting to you? I actually find it pretty exciting. After all, while my new fashion mission might require more research, reading and hunting than I’m used to, I’m kinda ok with that. After all, if we’ve learned anything from the year 2020, it’s that sometimes taking the extra time to do the right thing can really pay off.

dena silver headshot

Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.